Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that results from experiencing a traumatic event. These events can cause feelings of helplessness, fear, and shock. PTSD can result from accidents, the death of a loved one, fires, and abuse. About 12 million adults in the US have been diagnosed with PTSD in a given year.
PTSD can significantly interrupt daily life and functioning. Finding treatment for PTSD can be essential for regaining control over daily functioning. Anxiety and fear can worsen as more time goes by without treatment.
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by traumatic events. PTSD can result from either experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Traumatic events may result in problems adjusting and coping with others.
PTSD symptoms can worsen without proper treatment and can interfere with daily functioning. Treatment is crucial to reduce symptoms and improve functioning.
Symptoms of PTSD
Onset post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can show anytime after experiencing trauma, even years later. To be diagnosed with PTSD symptoms must be present for at least one month and impact daily life.
Memories related to the trauma may come back during episodes of post-traumatic stress disorder. Thoughts and feelings can trigger re-experiencing symptoms like words, objects, or situations that can serve as a reminder of the event.
Unwanted memories may occur in the following ways:
- Reliving the traumatic event over and again
- Flashbacks about it
- Having recurrent memories of the event while sleeping or walking
- Experiencing disturbing nightmares
- Physical or emotional distress triggers by sound, sight, and even smell that reminds you about the event
Avoidance is a common reaction to a traumatic event and with post-traumatic stress disorder. Avoidance can affect the ability to heal after a traumatic event.
Symptoms of avoidance may include:
- Avoiding acts and places that serve as a reminder of the traumatic event
- Resisting from talking about the event
Change in Physical & Emotional Reaction
Indulging in self-destructive behaviors such as sexual promiscuity, drugs, and drinking can occur when suffering from PTSD. When struggling with PTSD symptoms, risk-taking behaviors may increase.
Changes in physical or emotional reactions can include:
- Inability to sleep
- Easily startled
- Feeling guilty and shameful
- Unexplained aggression
- Inability to concentrate
- Constantly vigilant for danger
Negative Moods & Thoughts
Cognitive and mood symptoms can worsen as time goes on after a traumatic event. These symptoms can cause feelings of being detached from family and friends.
Negative thoughts and moods associated with PTSD can include:
- Negatives thoughts about themselves or the world
- Feeling hopeless
- Lack of interest in things that once brought joy
- Emotional numbness
- Memory problems
- Feeling detached from friends and family
- Inability to maintain a close relationship
- Memory problems such as difficulty remembering key details about the trauma
Physical symptoms of PTSD occur in addition to psychological symptoms. Physical symptoms also called arousal symptoms include the changes felt throughout the body as a result of a traumatic event.
Physical symptoms associated with PTSD can include:
- Shaking, headaches, dizziness, aches and pains, and stomach pain
- A weakened immune system marred with frequent infections
- Sleep disturbance that causes tiredness
Treatment for PTSD
PTSD treatment usually involves psychotherapy, counseling, medication, and a combination of these. A medical professional might recommend specific options tailored to manage the symptoms experienced.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Therapy is often recommended to help with the reduction of PTSD symptoms. One kind of therapy that can be beneficial for PTSD is cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help with the education of PTSD and how to reduce stress caused by this disorder.
CBT focuses on identifying and changing the destructive thoughts that harm mood and behavior. Methods used in CBT may include exposure to reminders of trauma in a controlled environment to help confront the traumatic event.
Some medications can be used to treat PTSD symptoms. For instance, serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs like paroxetine are commonly used to treat PTSD.
A medical professional may also recommend benzodiazepines to treat irritability, anxiety, and insomnia associated with PTSD. Please note that the National Center for PTSD does not recommend these medications. These medications do not treat the core symptoms and can easily lead to dependency.
Trauma Informed Care
This is a treatment approach that focuses on understanding and considering the persuasive trauma nature. Trauma-informed care aims to provide an environment of recovery and healing. This approach is used rather than adopting practices that may inadvertently re-traumatize the affected person.
Trauma-informed care follows five guiding principles that work as a framework. Service providers or therapists use this framework to determine how they can reduce the likelihood of re-traumatization. These principles are generalized across different service settings.
With this principle, therapists guarantee the physical and emotional safety of the person with PTSD. Offices will often have a welcoming common area and a place where privacy is guaranteed.
With this principle, individuals with PTSD have the chance of choice and control. The therapist provides clear and appropriate messages about their rights and responsibilities.
This refers to the ability to make decisions with the person suffering from PTSD and sharing your power. Therapists provide them with a significant role in evaluating and planning these services.
With this principle, the therapist ensures clarity with the task, consistency, and maintains interpersonal boundaries. This maintains professional boundaries and respect between the therapist and patient.
This refers to prioritizing empowerment and skill-building. Therapists achieve this by providing an atmosphere that allows an affected person to feel validated and affirmed. They aim to make sure that the affected person feels validated at every contact with them.
Get Help with PTSD in Orange County, CA
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that occurs as a result of experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. PTSD can be a debilitating mental health disorder that affects daily functioning and can continue to worsen without treatment.
If you or a loved one are struggling with symptoms of PTSD and trauma, reach out to Enhance Health Group. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our trauma-informed care.